The BBC has had an effective reduction in income of around 30% over a decade in real terms, equivalent to a loss of funding of £1.4 billion a year. A report on BBC Value for Audiences highlights at how the corporation has managed its finances but suggests that further savings will involve difficult choices that will affect programmes and services.

The cost of a television licence in in 2020 is £157.70 a year per household. That is equivalent to £178 per year 10 years ago taking inflation into account. The BBC says that the cost for each hour consumed by users was lower at 6.6 pence in 2019/20, compared with 7.6 pence in 2010/11.

Each hour of BBC television watched by a household costs it around 9 pence. That is compared to the cost per hour of an online video subscription service of around 15 pence.

Despite an explosion in competition in the media market in recent years, more people continue to use the BBC for media than any other brand. On average, 91% of UK adults use the BBC per week and 97% per month. Among those aged 16-34, 80% use the BBC per week and 93% per month.

The BBC has the largest share of broadcast and online television, comprising around 30% of the hours viewed by adults in the United Kingdom, with ITV following at 20%, while Netflix is estimated to be 11%.

The BBC is used by around 45 million people across all ages over a 24-hour period. 17.7 million people start their day with the BBC and 28.5 million come to the BBC for evening entertainment. More people get news from the BBC than any other source.

A survey of adults in the United Kingdom suggests that 78% think that BBC One offers high quality programmes, followed by 71% for BBC Two and 70% for BBC iPlayer. Channel Four and ITV are ranked next, ahead of Netflix at 60% and Amazon Prime Video at 48%.

“The BBC has made big changes to ensure we provide outstanding value. We are smarter spenders and savers and more efficient than ever before, but there is more to do,” wrote Tim Davie, the director general of the BBC. “The financial challenges and competition we face continue to evolve and while we have demonstrated we can deliver I want us to adapt and reform further to safeguard the outstanding programmes and services that our audiences love for the future.”

BBC Value for Audiences, February 2021, is published by the BBC and available from its web site.